Effectiveness and acceptability of brief psychoeducational interventions after potentially traumatic events: A systematic review

Samantha K. Brooks*, Dale Weston, Simon Wessely, Neil Greenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Experiencing a potentially traumatic event can put individuals at risk for both short-term and long-term mental health problems. While many psychological interventions exist for those who have experienced potentially traumatic events, there remains controversy about the best ways to support them. Objective: This review explores the effect of brief psychoeducational interventions after potentially traumatic experiences on adult recipients’ mental health, attitudes towards mental health, and trauma-related knowledge, as well as the perceived acceptability of psychoeducation. Methods: Four electronic databases were searched for relevant published literature. Results: Ten papers were included in the review. There was no evidence that psychoeducation was any more effective in terms of reducing mental health symptoms than other interventions or no intervention at all. There was some evidence that psychoeducation improved attitudes towards and knowledge of mental health immediately post-intervention; one study examined whether these improvements were sustained over the long term and found that they were not. However, psychoeducation was generally highly regarded by participants. Conclusions: This review did not find sufficient evidence to support routine use of brief psychoeducation as a stand-alone intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1923110
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychotraumatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Brief interventions
  • potentially traumatic events
  • psychoeducation
  • single-session interventions
  • trauma


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